Powering Down

March 16, 2009

It is commonplace for the cost-concious, the frugal-minded to power down lights when leaving a room or unplug unused appliances.

Since I became unemployed yet again back in November, I began taking my power usage one step farther.

I open my blinds as soon as the sun comes out, turn the thermostat down as far as I can comfortably bear, and try to avoid any usage of electricity other than the occasional push of my vaccum (which I have reduced down to once a week).

I cannot say that such tiny measures have placed millions into my pockets, but it has made me more aware of what I use and why.

Do I really need the lamp on when I read? Or can I sit by the window in my livingroom and enjoy my book in the dull March sunshine?

Such “hacks” work in my day to day life. With the arrival of spring weather on its way, I am sure that I will find other ways to cut back, and power down my home.

As is usual here in the Appalachian mountains, we are experiencing bursts of hot days and occasional cold spells. During these little warm spells, I have been getting my two lil fellows out in our yard.

The sun and fresh air is very good for my little ones (& chubby me), health wise. It is also a wonderful oppertunity to cash in on the frugal fun a warm day can bring.
Best of all, just with a ball:

  1. baseball w/a stick
  2. soccer
  3. dodgeball
  4. Gameskidsplay has a list of many games that use a ball
  5. PBSkids has a list of many games to play with your kids, not just with a ball.

Fun, frugal.. good for me & my kids.. and a priceless way to build a tiny block of positive memories in the lives of my kids.

Reverse Snowflaking

April 21, 2008

What it is: Reverse snowflaking is essentially making irresponsible purchases.

How it works: You walk into the store to buy bread. You come out with 3 magazines, a bag of candy, and your bread. In short, it is undisciplined spending.

The effects: Little purchases add up, quickly. A little one day can quickly turn into spending $100 a week! In essence, Reverse snowflaking depleets any money you could have saved toward a more responsible (and well needed) expense.

How to prevent it:

  1. Make a store list & stick to it
  2. Eliminate unnecessary purchases
  3. Question the necessity of every purchase
  4. Allow room for special treats – but put a budget on yourself

Read up on Snowflaking!
Links:

How I started Snowflaking by PaidTwice

Snowflake your way to a better self by Remodeling This Life

10 Can’t Miss Ways to Kickstart Snowflaking by I’ve Paid for This Twice Already

SNOWFLAKE CARNIVAL

It’s the arguement that never seems to be resolved: which saves more money, bar or liquid soap? For me, the answer is liquid.

Using bar soap initially is cheeper. Some stores offer 3 bars for 1 dollar. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time keeping my bar soap from shiveling up, falling apart, or becoming too slimy to do much with. There are some techiniques to prevent this: soap savers, soap trays, and many books how how to make those little mesh bags that hang over the sink. It just doesn’t work out for me. When I buy solid bar soap, I end up tossing a substantial amount of what I bought. With 2 sons and a messy husband, that adds up.

Liquid soap makes more sense for me, money wise. A large 9 oz bottle of soap can be purchased for one dollar at many stores. What most don’t know is that that 9 oz, watered down, becomes 15 or 16 oz worth. Any soap that can be used on hands at the sink can be carried to the tub, which cuts purchases in half. In addition, liquid soap can also be used to wash dishes – just in case you ever run out.  
Related Article:

FRUGAL FOR LIFE: Shower Curtains and Soap Slivers

(1) Have a plan/goal:
Having a plan to deal with your $ situation works in the same way as having a goal for cleaning works: you know what you are going to do. As I have been attempting to conquer my clutter, I have found that making a list and posting it in a highly visible location has caused me to stay more on task. Dealing with debt works the same way. Many famous finance authors
advise that making a visual reminder will keep you more on track.

(2) Pace yourself:
     The FLYlady website states that you must realize that a house doesn’t get in that condition overnight. I observe that our finances don’t get in a bad condition overnight. As I have been making efforts to conquer my clutter, I have found that I HAVE to pace myself. Pacing myself when I clean is not only helpful physically, but is actually helping me to get more accomplished.If you pace yourself when dealing with your finances, you will get more accomplished &
the plan will not drain you.

(3) Celebrate goals:
I indulge myself when I reach decluttering and cleaning goals. Oftern times, my indulgence is time spent relaxing or crafting. I believe that celebrating is essential whether it is in relation to cleaning goals or financial goals. By celebrating, you are in a sense rewarding your good habits. Although adults may have more debt and wrinkles than children, we like children repeat things because of a reward. Reward yourself in small ways for reaching goals. One things to keep in mind is not to let your reward damper your goal!

(4) Evaluate what works/what doesn’t:
As I have been decluttering and cleaning my home, I have found myself having to carefully evaluate whether my organizing/cleaning methods are working. I have had to rethink some of the methods I am using to clean/organize in order to make it work for me. Budgeting also has need for a time of evaluation. Take a look once a month or once a week even at what methods for debt elimination are working and which need scrapped for something new.
By taking the time to evalute what is and isn’t working in your debt elimination goals, you can learn what areas need extra care, which areas need a major repair. Evaluate often to make your money plan work for you.